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Things to Consider When Thinking About a Multigenerational Household

According to research conducted by Generations United, over the past decade there’s been a significant shift in how many Americans live in multigenerational households, with the percentage increasing from 7% in 2011 to 26% in 2021. Nearly 6 in 10 of those households report they began to or are continuing to live together because of the pandemic, and 7 in 10 of those households say they have no plans to change their living circumstances in the future.

Living with family has huge cost savings benefits, and offers additional advantages such as shared responsibilities and childcare, a stronger family bond, and safety. Whether you’ve already decided to make the move to a multigenerational household, you’re considering it, or you’re looking for tips on how to make your house more attractive to people looking for a multigenerational home, I’ve outlined a few things to think about as you navigate the process.

As of the 2018, data from the US Census Bureau’s 1-year American Community Survey indicates that Florida has the 13th highest share of multigenerational households in the Nation, at 4.02%. And obviously with the addition of the pandemic, rising home prices in our state, and a lack of sufficient home inventory, that number is sure to have risen since then. Making your home more attractive to multigenerational buyers is a great idea if you have the means. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a second entrance to the home through a bedroom
  • Add supplemental HVAC such as a window unit or mini-split so that all rooms are equally comfortable
  • Turn a large bathroom into two smaller bathrooms
  • Add a bathroom
  • Renovate or build space onto or above the garage
  • Add some privacy to living spaces so that people can watch tv, read or do different activities in different rooms at the same time
  • Add an eating space in your kitchen so there’s more space for people to eat
  • Expand the driveway to accommodate more cars

There’s more to living with multiple generations of your family than just sharing expenses like the mortgage, groceries, utilities, and household repairs. It’s important to speak with your tax accountant, financial advisor, and estate planning professional before you make this leap. Some questions to consider are:

  • Who is going to contribute to the mortgage? Is that money a gift, loan, early inheritance?
  • Who owns the home when a family member passes away? If your parents purchased the home, is it automatically yours, or do you have to split it or purchase a share that belongs to a sibling who may not live in the home?
  • What’s the plan if you and your spouse divorce but you purchased the home together?
  • Who takes the mortgage interest deduction on their tax return?

One huge advantage to a multigenerational household is the savings on childcare. While it may seem very convenient to have your parents or siblings around to watch your children (and will certainly save you thousands on childcare costs), it’s important to have an honest conversation about how the children are cared for by others in the household, how children are disciplined, and what kinds of activities they will participate in. Set some boundaries and discuss questions like these ahead of time to avoid conflict later:

  • Is the non-parent caregiver to be compensated? How?
  • What will be the hours the caregiver is expected to watch the children?
  • What if your parents are religious but you are not, and prefer your child to be raised without religion?
  • Is the caregiver strictly watching the children and keeping them safe, or are there learning objectives? Is the caregiver capable of and willing to meet those expectations?

There are ample resources for homeowners and buyers looking to learn more about creating a multigenerational household. As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®), I have the training and network to help guide you and get you in touch with some trusted professionals that will help make this a seamless process for you. Reach out to me to learn more, and take a look at these multigenerational-friendly homes on the market right now, or click here to set up your custom search.

Have questions on how to navigate a loan for a multigenerational home? Click here to get access to our expert lending team, America’s Money Source.

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